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American Society of Landscape Architects


May 2007 Issue

Cultural statement
A ‘getaway’ house honors both the past and present of Mexico.

By Jimena Martignoni

Cultural statement Grupo de Diseño Urbano

Sixty-five miles south of Mexico City is a pueblo where time seems to have stopped.

Landscape architect Mario Schjetnan, FASLA, chose Malinalco 20 years ago for building a getaway from Mexico City. The house was initially planned as a retreat for him and his partners from their firm in Mexico City, Grupo de Diseño Urbano, but after some years passed he acquired the place for his family and started a site-modeling process that is still under way today. Since then, he and his wife have been going to the house during weekends and summer breaks with their two daughters, witnessing the many changes that the site incorporated over their lifetime. One of the daughters continues the tradition of going there almost every Friday with her husband and two-year-old son, in search of a relaxing stay away from the city. Also, the family loves to offer the pueblo to friends from other parts of the world who are visiting Mexico.

The house, as well as its gardens and “patios,” or courtyards, has changed, evolved, and reshaped with time. But Schjetnan has made an effort to maintain or incorporate the most typical elements of Mexican culture into the pueblo.

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